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Coping Emotionally with Disability

Posted by ROLAND REZNIK on July 26, 2015. 0 Comments


Anyone can become disabled throughout their lifetime. Common reasons of disability is an accident, unexpected illness, deteriorating medical condition and old age. Once someone becomes disabled, it can be emotionally overwhelming. The dramatic change alters the life they once led drastically and powerful emotions can develop into depression and grief. It’s normal to go through a wide range of emotions, but once the dust settles, you can focus on accepting your disability and finding ways to live a happy productive life. This article will outline some helpful tips and information to help coping emotionally with disability.

Allow Yourself to Feel Your Emotions

In the beginning, it will feel overwhelming to lose part of yourself. At times you may even feel frightened as you adapt to your situation. It is common to go through a mourning period for the life you once lived and you may feel angry due to the sudden changes in your life. These intense feelings are normal and you should allow yourself to feel them. However, your goal is to deal with your emotions and begin to focus on the future. You don’t want to remain in a grieving, angry state for years. Keeping a positive support team in your life like your family, friends, doctor and therapist is essential to your healing. Surround yourself with people who will encourage and uplift you.  

Questions To Ask Yourself 

Once the realization sets in and you accept that you are disabled, a flood of questions will race through your mind. The following questions are the most common and the first you will have. 

  • Where will you live? - Depending on your disability, you may be able to remain living in your home or apartment. Even if you require assistance and personal care, there are ways this can be done in the comfort of your home. Since every insurance company and state has different opportunities, you will want to check with your specific medical care provider for further details. 
  • Will you receive disability? – This question can only be answered by the government and your answer is generally determined by your condition. Speaking to your support system about your disability and going through the measures to apply is your first step to getting your answer. 
  • Can you continue working? This depends on your current condition and abilities. It also is determined by the type of career or job you have. For example, if you were a construction worker before your disability, you may not be capable of physically perform that job any longer. However, there are other jobs in the industry that may be more suitable to your new lifestyle. Keep in mind that you may have to change your career path completely and even attend university to help you land the new job of your dreams. 

Knowing the answers to the three questions above will begin your path to re-creating your life. Remember to focus on the things you can do and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Speaking to an occupational therapist will help you adapt and provide you with a sense of freedom and independence. 

Move Forward 

Dealing with disability is challenging for anyone. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Speak to others about your concerns, goals and life changes. There are many people around you who are willing and ready to help you, such as doctors, family, friends, therapists, counselors, neighborhood disability groups or clubs and people at your local religious establishments. Talk to any of them to help you move forward and put your focus and effort on re-creating a new lifestyle that you will enjoy. Speaking with others is essential to getting new ideas and broadening your horizons. You may limit yourself, when others can see your potential for more and encourage you do move towards your future. 

Get Organized 

Focusing on your future means you will have to make some changes in your life in order to reach your new found goals. Organize yourself and begin with caring for yourself, eating healthy, staying active and staying in close contact with friends and family. Making your home more comfortable and wheelchair accessible is a top priority. Ask family and friends to come over to help you clean the rooms and pathways in your home so that you have as much independence as possible and you are comfortable. You can also seek local resources for independent living. Most counties, cities and hospital programs and government programs provide help for the disabled that is meant to fill the gaps in self care needs. You may also consider moving to a city that is more suitable and easier for wheelchair users. 

Stay Calm Around Obnoxious People 

There will be a moment, or even several, where you will come into contact with obnoxious people. Usually they are strangers you will see at the grocery store, mall and other public places. Some people do not mean to sound rude, but often times you will see that they get nervous or don’t know what to say around you. They may say odd or crazy things or ask unbelievable questions that may feel awkward at times. Try to stay calm around them and either remove yourself from the situation or use your communication skills to redirect the conversation. These types of people exist everywhere, so do your best to keep your dignity, even though you may be tempted to roll over their feet with your wheelchair. Check out our wheelchair etiquette guide with pictures. 

Keep in mind that your lifestyle will change, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Even though you are going through a lot, you can rise above and re-create your life the way you want. You will be forced to make adjustments to accommodate your new lifestyle, but it will be worth your effort since it will lead to your happiness. 


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